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Back pain is very common. The daily demands on your body can cause muscle weakness in the lower back. Sitting continuously all day, improper posture, and limited physical activities are some of the contributing factors. Here are some tips to help you overcome and prevent lower back pain.

1) Maintain good flexibility.  Regular stretching helps keep muscles flexible. They can also reduce stress on joints and improve the flow of blood and nutrients throughout the body. Without it, stiffness, limitation in movement, and pain can occur. For specific low back pain, stretch your hamstrings  and hip flexors, which have direct attachments to your low back.

Stretching is also an important way to prepare the muscles for vigorous activities such as aerobics or playing a sport. Stretching
exercises should also be done before and after a workout to prevent muscle strain and soreness and to help avoid injuries. Read the rest of this entry »

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In my work as a physical therapist, runners come to me all the time with questions about which running techniques are best. Usually they are struggling with injuries and they’ve heard about the latest, greatest technique on the Web or from their running buddy. They’re hoping that if they change their shoes or the way their foot strikes the ground they’ll get rid of that aching hip or knee or ankle—and they’ll run faster, too.

They want to bottom line answers to help them sort through all of strong—and often conflicting—opinions they’ve heard: Should a runner land on the heel, midfoot, or forefoot? What’s the deal with “overstriding?” And what is all the fuss about barefoot running?

Unfortunately I have to break it to them that there are no easy answers. There’s no silver bullet when it comes to running—a technique that has been the answer to your running buddy’s prayers might not be best suited for your body. If you really want to know which running techniques will suit you best, I recommend a full biomechanical assessment of your running and training patterns. (Full disclosure: In addition to my work as a physical therapist, I also work at a running clinic where we do these types of assessments.)

But since the Web is rife with opinions about this stuff, I’d like to share thoughts about the current running buzz based on what I’ve seen in my practice. I hope all of you runners out there will find it a useful reference as you continue to learn more about running. Read the rest of this entry »